Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Sharon Denies Plan for "Disengagement II" - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)
Few Americans Think Israel Should Give Up More Land in West Bank (Harris Poll)
Israel Shuts Down Hamas "Charities" - Ravi Nessman (AP/Washington Post)
Russia in a Hurry to Sell Weapons to Iran (Mosnews-Russia)
Iran Surprised by India's IAEA Vote (Rediff-India)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Two weeks after Israel ended its 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip, Egyptian troops have yet to take up fully their responsibility for policing the 7-mile border, allowing many Egyptians and Palestinians to venture through gaps in the fence.
Egypt fears that extremists from Gaza will spill over into its territory, worsening its own extremist problem in the Sinai desert. Yet it fears a domestic political backlash if it cracks down too hard on Palestinians from Gaza. Egypt, which has suffered major strikes on its tourist resorts in Sinai, has a large stake in keeping the radical Islamic groups in Gaza under control and off its side of the border. Yet Egypt also is leery of being seen as Gaza's jailer. (AP/Washington Post)
For the Palestinians, waging war from the West Bank, where Israel has arrested hundreds of suspected militants in recent days, is tougher than from Gaza. The Israeli army has far more control and access in the West Bank. There is also more than a grain of truth in the old quip that the Shin Bet, which runs networks of Palestinian informers, is the territory's biggest employer.
Militants acknowledge that Israel's West Bank barrier has made it harder to get suicide bombers into the Jewish state. Tunneling through the West Bank's rocky ground into well-guarded hilltop settlements is much more difficult than mining the sandy terrain of the Gaza Strip. "It is not as easy to attack these settlements," said Nasser Abu Aziz of the al-Aqsa Brigades in Nablus. (Reuters)
Israel rejected Arab charges that it is a nuclear threat to peace after Egypt proposed the creation of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East at a meeting of the UN atomic watchdog. Israeli atomic energy commission chief Gideon Frank said an Arab initiative to name Israel as a nuclear threat was unacceptable as it was "politically and cynically motivated." Frank told the IAEA that "many alarming proliferation developments in the Middle East have occurred in recent years....None of these involve Israel but all of them challenge our security." Frank said Israel supported "the principle of converting the Middle East into a zone free of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction as well as ballistic missiles." (AFP/Yahoo)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Head of IDF Operations Maj.-Gen. Yisrael Ziv warned Wednesday that if Palestinians continued to fire rockets at Israel, "The IDF will clear all Kassam launchers from Beit Hanoun [in northern Gaza]. We will allow no movement, and monitor the area, including firing....If the terrorists choose to fire from inside the houses, we will warn the residents, and if necessary will remove them from there."
"We are now in the midst of a process of reshaping the rules of the game," Ziv said. "The objective of the operation is to send a message through that the rules of the game have changed in the wake of the disengagement...the unbearable ease in which rockets are being fired into Israel, under the assumption that Israel will restrain its response, is ungrounded." "Under the new rules, rocket launchings or attacks on Israel from any place in the Strip are forbidden. As long as the children of Sderot cannot sleep, no one will sleep in Gaza." (Ynet News)
Sources in the Gaza Strip said most of the Hamas leaders have gone underground for fear of being targeted by Israel.
Hamas has come under heavy criticism following last Friday's explosion that killed 21 people and injured more than 120. Many Palestinians have rejected Hamas's claim that Israel was behind the explosion, which occurred when a truck loaded with rockets overturned during a rally. "The majority of Palestinians does not believe the Hamas version because they know the truth," said Omar al-Ghoul, a Palestinian political analyst. He said that growing resentment on the Palestinian street toward Hamas compelled the movement to agree to a cease-fire. "Popular resentment against Hamas has grown following the Israeli military strikes on the Gaza Strip." (Jerusalem Post)
Muhammad Ranaim, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a Fatah leader, said, "There could be a third intifada, which would be much more severe than its predecessor. This will be the intifada against the fence." "We are preparing a difficult struggle for Israel. We'll go to the UN, to the Security Council, and demand that the decisions of the court be applied regarding the separation fence. If we fail, we'll go to the General Assembly, and if we don't succeed, we have a third option, and that is more resistance, another intifada, and this will be a lot more severe than its predecessor," said Ranaim.
Abu Araj is an al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade commander in the Jenin area. From his perspective, "the third intifada is almost here, and it will be much worse. It will be an intifada against the fence, for the release of prisoners, for the liberation of Jerusalem, and the rest of the land." (Ynet News)
See also Casualties Drop in Fifth Year of Intifada - Sagi Or
Since the second intifada began five years ago on September 29, 2000, 1,033 Israelis and foreigners have been killed. Since September 29, 2004, 56 Israelis and foreigners have been killed. There have been six suicide bombings, killing 14 Israelis, and Palestinians have fired about 1,450 mortar shells and Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip in the past year. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
When Lebanese police last month arrested four former army and intelligence chiefs, once pillars of the pro-Syrian regime, as suspects in the murder of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, Arab commentators quickly understood that something profoundly significant was happening - not just for Lebanon, but the whole Arab world. For Rami Khouri, of Beirut's Daily Star, the arrests marked "a truly historic turning point that could shatter the dominance of political power by Arab security and military establishments." (Guardian-UK)
My journey into Palestinian Islam and Christianity, the faiths of my neighbors, was part of a much broader attempt among Israelis, begun during the first intifada, to understand your narrative, how the conflict looks through your eyes. Your society, on the other hand, has made virtually no effort to understand our narrative. Instead, you have developed what can be called a "culture of denial," that denies the most basic truths of the Jewish story.
According to this culture of denial, which is widespread not only among your people but throughout the Arab world, there was no Temple in Jerusalem, no ancient Jewish presence in the land, no Holocaust. Nowhere is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as popular as in the Arab world, which has also become the international center for Holocaust denial. The real problem, then, is not terrorism, which is only a symptom for a deeper affront: your assault on my history and identity, your refusal to allow me to define myself, which is a form of intellectual terror. (Jerusalem Post)
On Oct. 3, representatives of the EU and the Turkish government of Islamist Recep Erdogan will meet to determine if Muslim Turkey will be allowed to seek full membership in the EU. Europe should politely, but firmly, reject Turkey's bid. Turkey is awash with billions of dollars in "green money," apparently emanating from funds Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states withdrew from the U.S. after 9/11. U.S. policymakers are concerned this unaccountable cash is laundered in Turkey, then used to finance businesses and generate new revenue streams for Islamofascist terrorism.
Roughly a third of the Turkish population is a minority known as Alevis. They observe a strain of Islam that retains some of the traditions of Turkey's ancient religions. Islamist Sunnis like Erdogan and his Saudi Wahhabi sponsors regard the Alevis as "apostates" and "hypocrites" and subject them to increasing discrimination and intimidation. Other minorities, notably Turkey's Jews, know they are likely next in line for such treatment - a far cry from the tolerance of the Ottoman era. (Washington Times)
What If Iran Gets the Bomb?
The Iranian Challenge to the West
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